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Cincinnati In The News

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Kansas City pulls together bistate transit authority to drive economic development

The former mayor of Kansas City, Kan., has been named to the newly created position of Kansas City Area Transportation Authority CEO, with a mandate to pull together four different bus systems in the region (across two states) and connect them seamlessly with the city's under-construction downtown streetcar line. So reports The Kansas City Star — the kind of story you likely won't be reading any time soon in the Cincinnati media.

The Transportation Authority board was looking for someone with the leadership and public relations skills to build consensus for an improved transportation system that, the article claims, "many say is underfunded, struggles in a car-centric city, and suffers from service gaps that make it challenging for suburban riders to use anytime but during the morning and afternoon rush hours."

"(Joe) Reardon’s job will be to expand and unify the region’s fractured public transit system at a time when transit is seen as a key driver of economic development," the article says, then quotes Reardon: "I think a unified transit system is a key component to moving Kansas City as a region forward."

Good thing we're OK with the status quo of Cincinnati's multiple, unconnected transit systems. The region's just fine as is, thank you.

Read the full story here.

Trees help cities thrive

Choremonster, Lisnr make list of Upstart 100 driving the "new economy"

The CEOs of two Cincinnati startups — Chris Bergman of Choremoster and Rodney Williams of Lisnr — are featured in Upstart 100, a list of "the inventors, visionaries, masters and more driving the new economy" as proclaimed by Upstart Business Journal, a national online publication owned by Cincinnati Business Courier's parent company.

Other figures named to the list include Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, Larry Page, Steve Case, Jay Z and Taylor Swift, so the local entrepreneurs are in excellent company.

Read the full list and accompanying editor's note here.


Cincinnati Opera gets national nod in opera guide for beginners

HuffPost Arts & Culture has published what it calls "Your Definitive Guide to Going to the Opera," with tips about which operas to see depending on your tastes in movies, what to wear and what to do at intermission.

"Because opera is not a mainstream form of entertainment, it is often regarded as a pretentious one, something untouchable," the article begins. "However, if you give it a fighting chance, you'll find that opera can be enjoyed by classical musicians and complete newcomers alike — old to young."

The section concludes with a photo slideshow of America's top 14 opera companies, including Cincinnati Opera. Strangely, the photo they use to illustrate Cincinnati Opera is of a solo pianist in an empty Music Hall — the exact opposite of the local company's lavish productions, amazing sets and live orchestra.

Read the full story here.

Louis Langree says "Bonjour, Cincinnati!"

Vanity Fair's February issue includes a quick interview with Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Music Director Louis Langree, focusing on his role with the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra in New York City's Lincoln Center. They do ask him how he's getting used to being in the hinterlands of Cincinnati, far from his French homeland.

"Yes, I’m French," Langree says, noting Cincinnati's collective German heritage, "but I come from Alsace, which is French with some German DNA."

Read the interview here.

Frameri lenses attract Jay Z's online attention

Frameri founder and CEO Konrad Billetz talks about his company's popular interchangeable eyewear lenses with Life+Times, Jay Z's digital home covering art, sports, music, fashion and culture. He also discusses the Over-the-Rhine startup's future in the wake of his recognition as one of Forbes magazine's "30 Under 30" and why Cincinnati was the right place to launch Frameri.

"Cincinnati has to be one of most creative places I’ve ever experienced," Billetz tells Life+Times. "Being in Cincinnati has really helped us significantly. The entire community of designers, photographers, and creatives in general have been really supportive of us. Everyone wants to help and contribute to our mission, so we end up getting a lot of creative work either significantly discounted or free. Thank you Cincy!"

Read the full interview here.

Video tour of American Sign Museum

The Huffington Post regularly features travel pieces from Cincinnati's own Roadtrippers offering to take readers "on the road for the trip of a lifetime." The most recent story is a video tour of the American Sign Museum in Camp Washington.

See the full overview and tour here.

Eastern Corridor project: A road no one wants?

The Ohio Department of Transportation's ongoing study of the Eastern Corridor — featuring a widened and rerouted State Rte. 32, commuter rail between downtown and Milford and new bike paths — is being called "The $1.4 Billion Road No One Seems to Want" in a new Streetsblog USA post from writer Angie Schmitt.

Noting strong opposition to the Eastern Corridor plan from impacted communities such as Newtown, Mariemont and Madisonville, Schmitt asks, "Has Ohio DOT decided to shelve it? Nope. Instead, the Federal Highway Administration recently hired a third-party mediator to reach an agreement between Ohio DOT and the highway opponents. The mediator’s report recommended eight possibilities. One is a 'no-build' option, and the other seven are less harmful variations on the Eastern Corridor idea."

Read the full post here.

Nation's mayors want federal help on infrastructure

The U.S. Conference of Mayors' winter meeting last week in Washington, D.C. produced a resounding call for federal government help with urban transportation and infrastructure issues. President Obama signaled his support, calling on Congress to pass a bipartisan infrastructure plan In his State of the Union address.

“We’re all focused on infrastructure,” San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee told The Washington Post. “We think that that’s probably one of the best foundations for our economy, job creation, and we’re true believers in that.”

Read the full story here.

Camp Washington Chili dubbed a national "classic"

The Eater website is currently promoting "Classics Week," featuring stories on dozens of iconic dishes and recipes from around the U.S. — including "How Camp Washington's Chili-Topped Spaghetti Became Cincinnati Legend."

Eater Associate Editor Hillary Dixler provides a brief introduction to Cincinnati's spaghetti/chili/cheese signature dish for (likely aghast) readers, including its origin story centered on Greek immigrants. She then has co-owner Maria Papakirk take us on a step-by-step tour of how to correctly build a five-way, with lots of photos.

Eater describes itself as "the source for people who care about dining and drinking in the nation's most important food cities." It's one of a number of online publications owned by Vox Media, which also operates SB Nation, The Verge and Vox.com.

Read the glowing report here.

Sittenfeld's Senate announcement gets national attention

Cincinnati City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld's announcement that he will run for U.S. Senate in 2016 has started to grab national headlines. Ohio, as usual, will be a pivotal state in the presidential election next year, when Sen. Rob Portman is up for re-election.

Sittenfeld recently told Soapbox he'd been "thinking seriously about that race and have been genuinely overwhelmed at the level of encouragement people have offered."

The Huffington Post has the first national interview with Sittenfeld since his annoucement yesterday, saying, "If elected, Sittenfeld would be one of the youngest members of the chamber, where the U.S. Constitution sets the minimum age for service at 30. He faces an uphill battle against Portman, 59, who already had $5.8 million in his campaign war chest as of early January.

"But Sittenfeld too has been laying groundwork, traveling around the state on what National Journal recently called a 'months-long networking campaign' to introduce himself to activists and voters outside of Cincinnati. He brought on board the high-profile campaign firm 270 Strategies, which boasts several veterans of President Barack Obama's two bids for the White House, to handle his announcement. And his interview Thursday was filled with carefully tailored policy specifics that largely dovetailed with what Obama put forward in his State of the Union address this week."

Read the full Huffington Post story here. There's also coverage in Politico and The New York Times.

Mapping Cincinnati's Future: Population to increase 11% by 2030

A new database report from the Urban Institute maps the impact of births, deaths and migration on population trends for every county in the U.S. in 2020 and 2030, showing which areas should expect to grow and which should expect population loss. Titled "Mapping America's Futures," the report projects the racial and age breakdown of U.S. counties and metro areas in 2030 based on current demographic trends.

"We can already see that the population is aging and becoming more diverse, but how will those trends play out at the local and regional levels?" the accompanying article asks. "And what if, in the future, we live longer or have more babies? How would those trends affect the population in different cities and states?"

Urban Institute's model projects that Greater Cincinnati's population will grow 11.22 percent between 2010 and 2030, from 2,068,893 to 2,301,090. Our population will get slightly more diverse, as those categorized as Hispanic and Other (compared to White and Black) are projected to become 12 percent of the local population in 2030 vs. the 2010 level of 5.3 percent. As with the country as a whole, Cincinnati is projected to become older — although the largest age group will continue to be those 20-49.

See the full report, including an interactive map of the entire U.S., here.

After spurning Cincinnati, Chiquita decides to close Charlotte HQ

Chiquita Brands International, which moved its headquarters from Cincinnati to Charlotte, N.C., in 2012, announced last week that it would close its Charlotte office in the wake of a recent purchase by Brazilian companies. The Charlotte Business Journal reported Jan. 14 that Chiquita's CEO informed his 320 Charlotte-based employees that morning that the office would be closing as the company is taken private by its new owners.

Chiquita left downtown Cincinnati in 2012 after being courted by Charlotte, which pledged $23 million in local and state incentives. According to the newspaper, Chiquita has collected about $2.5 million of those inducements so far and said it would repay $1 million.

Charlotte Mayor Dan Clodfelter said he hoped the impacted Chiquita employees would stay in town and find other work: "I also want to encourage local employers to consider the impacted employees and their families, as many of them seek other job opportunities in our community."

Chiquita was based in Cincinnati from 1987 until 2012, the first 15 years under the control of majority owner Carl Lindner Jr.

Read more here.

Tech startup funding is "no problem" in Cincinnati

Huffington Post blogger Jason Grill gives big props to Cincinnati's startup scene, saying we now rival Kansas City as his pick for America's most entrepreneurial city.

"The words startup, technology and funding are creeping into the every day vocabulary in the Queen City," Grill writes. "Cincinnati lays claim to a growing and vibrant startup ecosystem. Much of this success is due to what we are seeing across the United States with fewer barriers to entry, but the main part of Cincinnati's success is due in large part to the venture funding access in the city."

Grill goes on to credit CincyTech and Cintrifuse for leading the recent charge here. Bottom line, he says: "Cincinnati is relevant in the startup world."

Read the full blog post here.

Cincinnati improves as one of "America's Best Performing Cities"

Noted urban guru Richard Florida offers his take of the 2014 edition of the Milken Institute’s Best Performing Cities study, which rates 200 large and 179 small metros on key measures of job growth, wage and salary growth and the size and concentration of high tech industry. "The study shows how the recovery has been concentrated in — and, indeed, has revolved around — what I have dubbed the twin pillars of America’s knowledge/energy economy," Florida writes, "with the best performers being energy centers and tech hubs."

San Francisco rated the #1 best performing large U.S. metro area in 2014, followed by Austin, Tex.; Provo, Utah; San Jose, Calif.; and Raleigh, N.C. Nine of the top 10 large cities were in California, Texas or Utah. The top-rated small metro area was Fargo, N.D., followed by Columbus, Ind.

Cincinnati made the list of biggest gainers between 2013 and 2014 among large cities, improving 45 spots to #68 — placing the Tristate around the top third of all large metro areas.

"Ultimately, the report paints a clearer picture of America’s geographically uneven recovery," Florida writes, "where tech hubs and energy centers prosper while older manufacturing and construction driven metros continue to falter."

Read more here.

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